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Meet the Team

Wolfgang Graser, Director

Wolfgang was born and raised in Austria and fell in love with South Africa in the early 1990s which he discovered over several trips through the country. He moved to Cape Town in 1994, right after the first free elections when Nelson Mandela became president. In 1995, he founded Good Hope Studies, an English language school, together with Alexander Kratochwil. They both ran the school until 2001 when they handed over the day-to-day business to a general manager. Wolfgang then focused on the marketing and strategic development of the company. In 2003, Wolfgang got married to Alice and they now have two children, Sebastian and Julia. Both Alexander and Wolfgang developed a passion for volunteering and decided to start offering volunteer opportunities to people from around the world in 2010, and so the foundation for Good Hope Volunteers was laid.    

Alexander Kratochwil, Director

Alexander is a co-founder of Good Hope Studies and Good Hope Volunteers. He is responsible for marketing and strategic planning. "I moved to South Africa in the mid-nineties from Europe and fell in love with this country and its people. Ever since, I have want to share this passion with young people from all over the world." Alexander grew up in Austria and trained as an engineer. A few years into the job, he realised that this wasn’t for him. After founding their language school in Cape Town, he and Wolfgang established Good Hope Volunteers. "It’s so rewarding seeing all these young and not-so-young people benefit from our programmes. I truly love it."   

Vanessa Randon, Volunteer Manager

As of March 2016, Vanessa joined as head of volunteering programs and development. Despite being born in landlocked Johannesburg, Vanessa studied an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology and a postgraduate degree in Physical Oceanography from the University of Cape Town. Vanessa then worked around the world for four years, travelling and teaching scuba diving.  Missing the African sunshine too much, she settled back in Cape Town where she heads up the Good Hope Volunteers team. Vanessa brings extensive knowledge of voluntourism and adventure travel. She has an enormous passion for the environment and conservation and hopes to launch a number of GHV-run projects that support these causes. When she is not in the office, she enjoys walking her dog Bubbles along Cape Town’s beautiful mountains and beaches.

Naomi Cresswell, Registrar & Volunteer Coordinator Cape Town

Naomi is the registrar and Cape Town support co-ordinator for Good Hope Volunteers. She is responsible for bookings and ground support of Cape Town volunteers as well as of partnered projects. Naomi was born in Durban, grew up in Cape Town and is passionate about all the beauty South Africa has to offer. She recently graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Social Science Master’s degree in Environmental Science and is passionate about both conservation and humanitarian work in South Africa. She wishes to support these kinds of projects through volunteering projects whilst showing volunteers what South Africa can offer them. 

Megan Ann Ward, Volunteer Coordinator Garden Route

Meg is based in Plettenberg Bay and offers support to our Garden Route Volunteers. Meg studied a Bachelor of Science in Medical Nutrition and has worked and travelled overseas. It is through dynamic work and travel experience that Meg ultimately discovered hospitality and now operates her own successful guest house in Plettenberg Bay called "Long Story". She is passionate about Voluntourism not only for the value that it contributes towards projects in need, but also for the broadened perspective gained by the individual volunteer attending unique work and travel experiences. Meg and her German Sheppard will surely offer you a very warm welcome!

Shile Mabombo, Volunteer House Coordinator

Sihle Mabombo is a full-time student at the University of Cape Town who lives with the Good Hope Volunteers. She is studying Industrial Psychology and Gender Studies. As the Volunteer House Coordinator, she is there to help students and volunteers with any daily queries or concerns.  She enjoys meeting and socializing with the volunteers from all around the world. She also takes pleasure in teaching house residents about South African culture and learning about their cultures too.

Marius du Plooy, Activities Manager

Marius du Plooy, a seasoned South African traveler, has a clear love for people and places. After graduating in 2002, he launched his career as a freelance tour guide, working with many of the big tour companies in Cape Town. Sharing the diverse beauty of South Africa with guests is a passion of his. Marius is very adventurous and feeds off excitement and fun! He has a love for hiking, mountain climbing, water sports and more. His knowledge and experience also stretches to managing a backpacker youth hostel on the beautiful Garden Route of South Africa. With his all-round experience in the various aspects of travel, he understands traveling and travellers’ needs.

Rodney Peterson, Driver

Rodney is a hands-on person. He loves making and repairing things and has made items such as lampshades and biltong boxes. In his free time, he also enjoys mixing fragrances. – a hobby he is passionate about. Rodney started at Good Hope Studies in April 2015 as a driver. His duties include volunteer transfers from the airport to their accommodation. Rodney also does transfers for Cape Town volunteers to the social activities offered on the social programme. Rodney is the 24-hr emergency contact and will assist you after hours and on weekends.
With his extensive experience in the tourism industry, he has good knowledge of travel destinations around South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. He loves meeting and getting to know people.